Updated: Nov 14, 2018
"Warhol understood early that brand identity would become the definition of success – for people as well as products. Instant recognition." *
This article will explain in detail what is brand identity, why you need one as an artist and how you can achieve it.
Let’s start with the basics of brand identity. You know how brands express themselves by looking, sounding and behaving a certain way? Take for instance Nike’s swoosh or the slogan “America runs on Dunkin”, once you come across these visuals you can’t help but associating them with a specific company and its products. That immediate link is living proof of the power of good branding. As an artist you want to achieve the same effect when people see your work or hear a tagline. Your own brand should encompass something unique about you or your art, so that potential customers learn to recognize your style.
How To Define Your Artistic Brand Identity
Before getting to work, take some time to reflect. Ask opinions from those you trust or admire. Keep in mind that there are two sides or angles you need to take in consideration.
The first one focuses internally, on you and your art. What inspires you to create? What are you hoping to transmit through your artworks? And the second one puts the target audience in the spotlight. Either if it’s a random person visiting your studio, or if it’s an agency interested in representing you or a private art collector, think about what you are offering them and how do you envision your interactions with them?
Often this will be what people already mention when they discuss you or your art—after all, it’s what you’re good at. Other times, what makes you unique is the reason you create your art, or the life experiences you’ve had which have shaped you as an artist. There is no wrong answer. Simply find that unique element that is yours only and move on with the process.
You’re a pro when it comes to visuals, I know, but it might be harder than you’d think to be objective with your own branding. First of all, you need to understand what design genre fits best for your art.
If the color palette of your artwork is vibrant and “loud” then it should only make sense for your branding to follow that direction. If 99% of your works have pastels, grays and black & white, it would feel out of place to have a colorful palette for your branding. Stick to a selection that reflects your artistic style. Even though you might go through blue or yellow periods like Picasso, you can find a sleek choice of colors that will remain cohesive throughout, almost like a signature.
Take a look at our options for inspiration. We even took it one step further and we named our colors, because we like going that extra mile.
Logo and Typography
You might not think it’s necessary, but having a visual identify is part of a strong branding. The easiest way to do this is to create a logotype, which could be your name written in a chosen font. If you’re using geometric shapes in your art, try looking for geometric fonts. Perhaps you can have a hand-written signature as a logo, if it will reflect the rest of your art. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it has to be cohesive with the rest of your branding and art. For instance, with our logo we tried to incorporate the initials of our company's name, STATE OF THE ART AGENCY, stylized around frames of paintings, which cover parts of the letters. Can you see it? We believe it's a truly a state of the art logo.
Coming back to our previous Nike example, the company coined “Just do it”, or as for a reference in the art world, Mr Brainwash has the famous line “Life Is Beautiful”. Try to come up with some words related to your art, maybe an element that’s reoccurring in your artworks, maybe the message you want to pass on to the people who see your art. Our tagline "Art. Represented." reflects our core and mission.
Build Your Online Presence – In today’s world, no matter if you represent yourself, through an art gallery or an art agent, you need to create an online presence that reflects the quality of your art and reputation. You should have a website and social media accounts, like Instagram or Facebook, that incorporate your brand identity.
With the risk of sounding repetitive, consistency is the key! If you don’t consistently employ your logo, color palette or tone of voice, then your brand identity remains random at best.
Put your branding on everything you create and send out, from emails that you sign with your tagline, to business cards that have your logo, to a website that reflects your brand identity.
"The image/icon was everything – and recognition comes through repetition. Warhol’s repetitions are a way of reminding us that indifference (seen it all a million times) becomes difference when we are able to stop skimming and start seeing. The surface gives way to what is under the surface. "*
Keep it simple: The goal is for your target audience to be able to recognize your brand almost intuitively. Keep the messaging simple and straightforward across all branding efforts
Make sure it’s working: The entire purpose behind branding is to help your sales. If you’re not seeing the type of results that you were expecting, it might be smart to try something new.
You can always reach out to State Of The Art Agency for consultation. Our team will be happy to assist you!